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Saturday, December 31, 2011

U.S. ORDINARIATE: Fr. Dwight Longenecker 'Thoughts on the Anglican Ordinariate'

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thoughts on the Anglican Ordinariate

On January first Archbishop Wuerl will announce the erection of the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States.  This is the special structure provided by the Holy Father to allow Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their distinct cultural patrimony. I have been invited to preach at the Evensong the night after the Rector and members of Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore are received on January 22. I'll have to rustle up my preaching scarf, tabs, and academic hood I suppose....Who woulda thought it?

It is an exciting time for all those Anglicans the world over who have longed to retain their traditions and be in full communion with the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate was established in England last summer, and plans for the Australian ordinariate are well under way.

We really are witnessing a historic step in ecumenism. After years of discussion and progress in many ways a structure has been provided to allow full communion between Anglicans and Catholics. The establishment of the Ordinariate has clarified matters between the two churches. Benedict XVI has, if you like, called the bluff of all those Anglicans who kept on saying, "We are Catholics too you know...just not Roman Catholics." Then they would go on in pious phrases, "We do long to become Catholics and to achieve unity, but we do not want to give up our distinct patrimony."

OK. It's all possible now. Anglicans can come into full communion with Rome. They can keep their distinct patrimony. They have their own hierarchy. Their married men may be ordained. They can have their own religious orders, their own seminary and their own churches and their own form of church government. What else do they want? The numbers who take up the Pope's offer will be small, because they will have to launch out in faith.

Many will have to leave their buildings and financial security behind. They will have to build churches from scratch. They will endure hardship and persecution from their former friends and family and colleagues, but what will emerge is a little group of Anglicans--now Catholis--who will contribute to the whole church and establish a secure place for the riches of Anglicanism to prosper and survive.

Most importantly, the Ordinariate has established a new direction not just for Anglican-Catholic relations, but for the whole future of ecumenism. Benedict XVI has re-written the rule book. No longer are we engaged in long, polite (and endless) discussions. Instead there is action. A way forward is possible. All that remains is to see who will avail themselves of this option.

Finally, this new direction takes the whole church down a new path. Catholics think in the long term. Who knows what will come of this historic moment? How will the newly accepted Anglican clergy contribute to the whole church? What gifts will they and the lay people bring? How will their gifts influence the Catholic Church in English speaking lands? How will their pioneering effort touch other people's lives?

I can only speak from experience. I left the Anglican Church to become a Catholic in 1995. I just did what I had to do. I never thought that it would influence anyone else, yet over the years my own action of obedience to God's call has influenced many people. I never thought I would write books or speak or do broadcasting. I never thought I would have people write to me saying that my decision sparked theirs and that they had come into the church through my writing.

I never thought of any of that, and yet by God's grace something greater happened than I ever could have imagined. I hope and pray that similar graces unfold as our brave Anglican brothers and sisters take the step of coming home to Rome.

UPDATE: Virtue OnLine reports that the Ordinary for the American Ordinariate will be Fr Geoffrey Steenson. Read about it here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

MISSION: 26 priests, religious, lay pastoral workers slain in 2011

26 priests, religious, lay pastoral workers slain in 2011

RSS Facebook December 30, 2011

Twenty-six pastoral workers--including 18 priests, 4 sisters, and 4 laity--were killed in 2011, according to the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Seven were killed in Colombia, five in Mexico, three in India, two in Burundi, and one each in Brazil, Paraguay, Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Spain.

The Fides news agency commented:

"The true imitation of Christ is love," said the Holy Father on December 26. And this was certainly the rule of life for Sister Angelina, who was killed in South Sudan by militants of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) while she was bringing medical aid to refugees; and also for Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro, of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement of Nuevo Laredo (Mexico), who worked for a newspaper and was committed to assisting migrants, she was kidnapped and murdered by drug dealers; even for Father Fausto Tentorio, Italian missionary of PIME, priest in Mindanao (Southern Philippines), who devoted his life to the service of literacy and development of indigenous people; or even for the layman Rabindra Parichha, killed in Orissa in eastern India: former itinerant catechist was very involved in the legal field and a promoter of human rights.

Fides' list does not only include missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but all pastoral care workers who died violent deaths. We do not propose to use the term "martyrs," since it is up to the Church to judge their possible merits and also because of the scarcity of available information in most of cases, with regard to their life and even the circumstances of their death.


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Murder charges for abortionists in Maryland RSS Facebook December 30, 2011

Prosecutors in Maryland have lodged murder charges against two abortionists.

Drs. Steven Chase Brigham and Nicola Irene Riley face multiple charges in connection with late-term abortions allegedly performed illegally at Brigham's clinic in Elkton, Maryland. Authorities report that Brigham had no license to practice in Maryland. Police say that they found the remains of unborn babies—the victims of late-term abortions—in freezers in his clinic.


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

VIETNAM: Young Catholic kidnapped by police

Young Vinh Catholic kidnapped by police on Christmas Eve 
Pierre Nguyên Dinh Cuong was taken by men in plain clothes, without an arrest warrant. The sixteenth since end of July to undergo such treatment. People involved in groups like the John Paul II Center for the defence of life or as the Movement of Catholic entrepreneurs and intellectuals on the rise in northern Vietnam. For weeks, the families left with no knowledge of their whereabouts.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The campaign of arrests of young Catholics continues in the north of Vietnam, a campaign carried out with kidnapping techniques, without any charges and leaving families without any news for weeks. Since the end of July, sixteen young people have suffered this fate.

The most recent case concerns Pierre Nguyên Dinh Cuong,, a young man of a parish of Vinh, who on Christmas Eve, December 24, was abducted on his way home from the home of a doctor, his friend. As reported by Eglises d'Asie, three men in plain clothes handcuffed him and loaded into a taxi that drove away.

The next day, one of the brothers of the victim recognized the cab and its occupants, chased them and forced them on a moped to stop. He wanted news about what had happened to his brother, but the three grabbed him by the throat, refused to respond and fled. Other friends of Pierre Cuong, however, succeeded in following the taxi and saw him enter the Provincial Public Security headquarters.

No doubt, among the friends of the young man kidnapped, who charge that the Public security officials are using these abduction methods. The arrest, in fact, took place without a warrant, nor have Pierre's relatives been informed of the place where the young man is being detained.

In the opinion of friends and neighbours, the kidnapping is linked to the young man's commitment in the ecclesial movements and charitable and social activities, in particular with John Paul II Center for the defence of life.

The case of Pierre Cuong is similar to that of another 15 kidnapped, nine of whom from the diocese of Vinh, as told by Bishop Nguyen Thai Hop. The last was Paul Tran Minh Nhat, who studied at the faculty of foreign languages and computer science in Hanoi. He too is a native of the diocese and weeks have passed before his family could find out something about him.

Several of those arrested belonged to John Paul II Center for the defense of life or the Movement of Catholic entrepreneurs and intellectuals, both of which are flourishing in northern Vietnam. Some had spoken out in support of Cu Huy Ha Vu, the 53 year old lawyer, the son of one of the leaders of the revolution, committed to human rights.

On December 22, another four young Catholics were arrested, Nguyên Xuân Anh, Nguyên Oai, Nguyên Duyêt and Thai Van Dung, interned in B14 they were allowed receive a representative of their families. While the physical conditions of the four are not of concern, the moral seems to leave something to be desired, but one wonders why only four prisoners were allowed to receive visits.

St. THOMAS a' BECKETT Feast !!!

Feast of St. Thomas a Beckett, 12 cent. Martyr bishop
photo

St Thomas a' Beckett's Murder

Some of the splendid medieval murals surviving in the north aisle of South Newington church.

This detail shows the murder of Thomas becket, unusual in that the Saint's images were targeted for destruction by Henry VIII's order, in this instance the only intact head is Thomas's! Presumably this mural was already covered by the time the iconoclasts came to call.

They were painted c1340 using oil based pigment on dry plaster (as opposed to fresco) which seems to have preserved the colour exceptionally well.

___________________________________


From a Letter by St. Thomas a' Beckett, Bishop


Saint Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr

If we who are called bishops desire to understand the meaning of our calling and to be worthy of it, we must strive to keep our eyes on him whom God appointed high priest for ever, and to follow in his footsteps. For our sake he offered himself to the Father upon the altar of the cross. He now looks down from heaven on our actions and secret thoughts, and one day he will give each of us the reward his deeds deserve.
  As successors of the apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches; we have accepted the responsibility of acting as Christ's representatives on earth; we receive the honour belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labours. It must therefore be our endeavor to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.
  There are a great many bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecration, and still make profession of being. The harvest is good and one reaper or even several would not suffice to gather all of it into the granary of the Lord. Yet the Roman Church remains the head of all the churches and the source of Catholic teaching. Of this there can be no doubt. Everyone knows that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to Peter. Upon his faith and teaching the whole fabric of the Church will continue to be built until we all reach full maturity in Christ and attain to unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
  Of course many are needed to plant and many to water now that the faith has spread so far and the population become so great. Even in ancient times when the people of God had only one altar, many teachers were needed; how much more now for an assembly of nations which Lebanon itself could not provide with fuel for sacrifice, and which neither Lebanon nor the whole of Judea could supply with beasts for burnt offerings! Nevertheless, no matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what he plants is the faith of Peter, and unless he himself assents to Peter's teaching. All important questions that arise among God's people are referred to the judgement of Peter in the person of the Roman Pontiff. Under him the ministers of Mother Church exercise the powers committed to them, each in his own sphere of responsibility.
 
 
  Remember then how our fathers worked out their salvation; remember the sufferings through which the Church has grown, and the storms the ship of Peter has weathered because it has Christ on board. Remember how the crown was attained by those whose sufferings gave new radiance to their faith. The whole company of saints bears witness to the unfailing truth that without real effort no-one wins the crown.


Blessed Feast of Righteous Joseph of Nazareth !!! 30 Dec

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MISSION / Iran: authorities storm Protestant church, detain all members

Iran: authorities storm Protestant church, detain all members
RSSFacebookDecember 28, 2011

Police stormed an Assemblies of God church in Ahwaz (also known as Ahvaz), a southwestern Iranian city of 970,000, and detained all present, including children, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an organization that monitors the persecution of Christians.

"The Iranian authorities often insist that Christians are being arrested for indulging in actions that threaten public security; however, it is difficult to conceive how children attending Sunday school or, for that matter, legitimate Christmas celebrations fit into this category," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Mervyn Thomas. "It increasingly appears as if the Iranian regime has decided to deem every act of Christian worship a threat to national security."

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Victory for New Jersey nurses told to participate in abortionsRSSFacebookDecember 28, 2011

Twelve nurses who say that they were told by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that they had to participate in abortions have successfully negotiated a settlement with their employer.

"It is a victory because the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs," said the nurses' attorney, Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund. "The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions, according to their legal rights. The hospital is required to fully staff all abortion cases so that our clients would never be needed for those cases, and the hospital cannot use pro-abortion staff to replace our clients or reduce their hours."

"The [US district] judge warned the hospital that our clients could return to his court if they were assigned to work abortion cases or if the hospital claims that routine abortions are emergencies," Bowman added. "We hope that other hospitals will realize that they should agree to obey conscience laws that protect pro-life medical personnel."

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Answering the Call

Recently ordained priests rejuvenate the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church


text by Mariya Tytarenko with photographs by Petro Didula

"From now on I will only call my son 'Father,' " says Myroslava Sergeeva proudly. Just a few hours earlier, she watched her son, Petro Moysiak, profess his obedience during an ordination ceremony inside the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of the Transfiguration in Kolomiya, a city in western Ukraine, 124 miles south of Lviv.
Father Petro Moysiak recently finished six years of study at Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv. Though now a priest, he does not officially graduate until he completes a year of training in a parish. In the coming weeks, he will depart for Argentina to do just that.
His early ordination is in fact a rare exception, one that required the intercession of the recently elected head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.
"Our Petro is quite experienced," explains his stepfather, Valeriy Sergeev. "In 2003, he graduated from Ternopil National Academy of Economy with a graduate degree in accounting and auditing. And from November 2003 to February 2004, he experienced the war in Iraq."
"All that time I was searching for God in places where there was no God: in accountancy and in war," says the 29-year-old priest. "At Ukraine's peace mission in Kut, Iraq, there were no chaplains and almost no one practiced Christianity. I did take my prayer book with me and always read it. The other guys would make fun of me. Later on though, they asked me to remember them in my prayers."
"Here's the interesting thing," begins the young priest's spiritual mentor, 38-year-old Father Petro Holiney. "In Petro's letters from Iraq, there was nothing written about a possible future in the priesthood, but at the same time all his letters hinted at his true calling."
Born in the well-established village of Deliatyn, 30 miles outside the regional capital of Ivano-Frankivsk, Petro Moysiak grew up in a traditional Ukrainian Greek Catholic family — which was still an underground church until he was 9 years old. As a child, he sang in the church choir and served as an altar server.
In 2001, he established two youth groups, St. Josaphat the Martyr for boys and St. Olha for girls. Both groups help local senior citizens, disabled persons and orphans in villages throughout western Ukraine. They also sing traditional carols at Christmas and organize summer camp activities in the Carpathian Mountains for children.
"This year we are celebrating our tenth anniversary," says Father Petro Moysiak's 19-year-old sister, Oksana, a member of St. Olha. "And this is all thanks to my brother."
Father Moysiak and Father Holiney represent a new generation of young priests who face unique challenges in a changing corner of the world that has experienced a spiritual revival in the post-Soviet era.
Both men find great inspiration in the teachings and work of the late Father Mykhailo Kosylo, a talented pedagogue, poet and founder and rector of Lviv's late Soviet-era underground Ukrainian Greek Catholic seminary, which operated from the 1970's through the early 1990's. Father Kosylo secretly trained a total of 20 seminarians, the last of whom was Father Holiney. Other clergy often refer to these priests as "Kosylivtsi" after Father Koslyo.
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DOMINICAN Christmas in Oxford, UK

Christmas at Blackfriars

Some pictures from our midnight mass at Blackfriars Oxford:






And some time relaxing together afterwards:




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Father Raymond J. de Souza: Stephen Harper's half-hearted Christmas message

Dec 23, 2011 - 5:16 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 23, 2011 5:43 PM ET

Government of Canada / YouTube

Government of Canada / YouTube

A screengrab from Stephen Harper's Christmas message



The Prime Minister of Canada released today a "message for the Christmas season" which is both comically inept and offensive. A PMO famous for its exacting message control ought to be able to cobble together a decent Christmas statement, but apparently not. And no blaming this embarrassment on the junior assistant speechwriter in the office of the deputy associate director of communications. No, the PM himself took time to videotape this greeting to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Christmas message, so he was fully aware of what was not in it.
To begin with, nothing about Christmas or Christianity or even Christians. The only mention of Christmas is up top, where the PM says, "Christmas is a time to gather with family and friends, and to look back with gratitude, and to look forward with hope."
That is so nondescript it could have been said on any holiday at all. For example, on Thanksgiving. Indeed, on Thanksgiving, Mr. Harper said this: "Thanksgiving is a time when Canadians take time away from their busy schedules and gather with loved ones to celebrate and give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy."
After the blathering about gathering, Mr. Harper gets right to his main point, which is Canada's fabulous economic action plan: "In spite of continued global instability, Canada's economy has performed well, compared to other countries. And our country is more confident and more united than ever. Our Government will keep working hard to create jobs and growth."
That's simply offensive. To use one of the holiest days of the Christian year for some economic boosterism is to profane what is sacred. Patting yourself on the back for your economic policy is so vain and in such bad taste that one wonders if the PM is in possession of some super-secret poll advising him to offend Christians as a new political strategy.
C'mon, Father, surely the PM had to talk economics instead of religion, lest Justice Minister Rob Nicholson dispatch some goons from the human rights commission to beat him into secularist submission? Give him a break, perhaps he is simply havin' a wonderful Christmastime, as maybe Mr. Harper likes to sing when not playing Imagine on his piano.
Nice try. But just two months ago for Diwali  the PM spoke about "the victory of good over evil and light over darkness", summarized the "sacred story" of Diwali and listed by name the "Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists" who celebrate it.
A fluke? No, because just a month ago, at the marking of Eid, Mr. Harper began with a hearty "As-Salāmu Alaykum" before going on to speak at length about the history of Muslims in Canada. He even went so far as to opine about what constitutes the "true face of Islam".
The Prime Minister was clearly warming to matters theological, because just three days ago for Chanukah, he delivered something of a sermon: "More than two thousand years ago, a small group of Jewish believers overcame the odds and courageously defeated and repelled their oppressors, liberating Jerusalem and reclaiming the Holy Temple as their own. As they rededicated the Temple, a second miracle occurred: a small amount of oil that should have lasted one night instead burned for eight. Since that time, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holy tradition of Chanukah, the yearly eight-day Festival of Light, in commemoration of those miracles. Born out of the triumph of light over darkness, of freedom over oppression and of tolerance over persecution, this celebration reminds us that miracles can occur even in the darkest of moments, and that justice must always overcome tyranny."
So the Prime Minister is capable of rising to the religious occasion when he chooses to. At Christmas, he chose not to. He wished us a Merry Christmas (and a Happy Hanukah again, one time each for both spellings) but his heart did not seem to be in it. How to reciprocate? Perhaps we should simply wish him: Happy Economic Growth in the Fourth Quarter!
National Post

Lorne Gunter: Winning the war on Christmas

Dec 25, 2011 – 8:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Dec 23, 2011 6:43 PM ET


Despite the best efforts of radical atheists, secular humanists and the legions of the politically correct, Christmas has managed to survive. After more than two decades of frontal assaults on Christmas designed to expunge references to the holiday from public spaces, nearly three-quarters of Canadians told Ipsos-Reid pollsters last week that they view this as the Christmas season, not the "holiday season," and they wish one another "merry Christmas," rather than the more generic, "happy holidays." And while it's purely anecdotal, I've noticed more store clerks, more receptionists, letter carriers and strangers in the street offering Christmas greetings.
Not surprisingly, the sense that this is Christmas, and worth preserving, is highest among middle-aged and older Canadians. Among those 35 to 54 years old, 73% see this as the Christmas season, while among those 55 and older, 80% share that view. The sentiment is even catching on among younger Canadians in hearteningly solid numbers. Two-thirds of those aged 18 to 34 prefer the Christmas term, up a startling 10 percentage points from 2010.
That's not to say the war on Christmas is over. Far from it.
There will still be judges who decree that Christmas trees be moved from the foyer of the courthouse into a backroom, where few can see them, lest their presence in the lobby give affront to hypersensitive non-Christians. There will still be public schools that cancel their Christmas concert in favour of a "winter family festival." Each year some teacher will realize that candy canes are fashioned after a shepherd's crook. She will then make the connection with Jesus the shepherd and ban candy canes from her classroom. A wounded atheist will demand his or her community remove its nativity scene from the town square. Some chain of stores will get caught instructing its employees to avoid wishing customers a Merry Christmas. Politically correct politicians will erect "holiday" trees, as if any other major religion's holiday decorates firs and spruces with bright lights and glittering ornament. (It's a Christmas tree. Call it that.)
The war on Christmas is nearly as old as Christmas itself, so it is never going to end entirely. But I sense a dam has broken, a hump has been overcome and that – at least for a while – Christmas is back in favour. The odd school is sneaking one of the traditional carols into its Saturnalia Festival – not simply "Here Comes Santa Claus." (I've even heard rumours about whole recitals devoted to sacred music and referred to as Christmas concerts, again.)
The Walmart greeter, who two Christmases ago had been instructed by head office to wish "happy Holidays," is now freely wishing merry Christmas to everyone and anyone who passes through the front doors. It's probably good for business, too. People steeped in North American traditions, whether regular church go-oers or not, have recently become more and more troubled by campaigns that seek to erase the kind of Christmases they remember from their youths. They have pushed back by complaining about stores that attack Christmas, and buy refusing to products from them.
It's no time to stop watching for new attacks on Christmas; they will come. But Canadians who care about Christmas can take solace that the worse may be over and that their beloved Christmas will carry on for a few more years, at least.
National Post